George Michael has admitted that coming out didn’t make his life any easier.
The Faith singer had to unintentionally reveal his sexuality after he was arrested in 1998 for “lewd behaviour” in a public place in Los Angeles. At the time, George said he had been mourning the death of his mother and his former partner, Anselmo Feleppa.
“For some strange reason, my gay life didn’t get easier when I came out,” George told the BBC. “Quite the opposite happened, really. The press seemed to take some delight that I previously had a ‘straight audience,’ and set about trying to destroy that.”
“And I think some men were frustrated that their girlfriends wouldn’t let go of the idea that George Michael just hadn’t found the ‘right girl’ [yet],” he added. “Which is still what a lot of my extended family still think!”
The Wham! frontman, 50, added that he hadn’t been open at the time because he wanted to protect his mother.
“It’s about family,” he said. “In the years when HIV was a killer, any parent of an openly gay person was terrified. I knew my mother well enough that she would spend every day praying that I didn’t come across that virus. She’d have worried like that.”
George went on to have a 13-year relationship with Kenny Goss but the couple ended their relationship in 2011.
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The single star is back with his new album in ten years, Symphonica, which contains songs recorded during recent tours. This is George’s first album since becoming sober.
The London-born singer had two drug-possession related arrests in 2006 and 2008. Two years later he was arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana after he crashed his car into the front of a shop near his home in Hampstead. George had been returning from a gay pride march in central London.
His arrest and month-long stint in jail inspired the singer to get clean for good.
“I realized it had to be something to do with me,” said George. “It shook me out of my denial. After that crash happened, I started drug counselling and was two weeks in detox, none of which I made public. It feels so completely behind me now. It really does.”